Visiting the Dolomites in winter is not just about the activities on offer, whether you choose snowshoeing, skiing or anything else. Visitors here are drawn by the moutains, unique towering shapes of rock, impossible faces and jagged pinnacles.
Staying in Rifugio Lagazuoi, one of the Dolomites highest rifugios at 2752m, you begin to get a sense of the drama of the scenery here. The orange and pink hues of the rock are undoubtedly at their most spectacular at sunrise and sunset, and to be able to observe the ‘enrosadira’ or alpenglow from such a viewpoint is a unique privilege. Watching the whole process unfold with a view from Antelau in the Ampezzo valley to the South-East to Sas Rigais and the Val Gardena to the North-West, you are struck by the scale, each individual mountain its own unique, beautifully coloured, shape against the deep blue sky. Taking it all in is impossible, lasting only a few minutes, replaced by the bright day or the crystal clear night.
A night at Rifugio Lagazuoi – 2,752m
With the light show over, the guests return to the warmth, the hospitality of the rifugio staff matching the well heated, wooden clad dining room. It seems strange to be perched here at such a height yet so comfortable and warm. The wine list is extensive and the food fantastic, creature comforts in contrast to the plunging temperatures outside.
Staying in the midst of the mountains offers a unique perspective and is possible in the Dolomites in numerous mountain huts. These rifugios scattered across the region cover both summer and winter. In the summertime offering unrivaled access to walking routes and via ferrata, in the winter ski touring, snowshoeing and, as at Lagazuoi, direct access to the Dolomiti Superski network of pistes. Descending the famous Lagazuoi to Armentarola piste, the ‘hidden valley’, before the majority of people can access the slope, makes for a breathtaking end to a fabulous stay.